Lyme Disease | Diagnosis & Tests

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How can my doctor tell if I have Lyme disease?

The best way to find out if you have Lyme disease is to talk to your family doctor about your symptoms. Blood tests aren't always necessary to make the diagnosis. They can often give false results, especially in early-stage Lyme disease.

 People who have been sick with Lyme disease for less than a month often don't yet have antibodies to the disease. This means they won't have a positive blood test. Also, if a person with early Lyme disease takes antibiotics, he or she may never have a positive Lyme disease test. However, the blood test is almost always positive in people who have been sick for over 4 weeks and haven't taken antibiotics.

People who have joint swelling or nervous system problems may need to have special tests. Your doctor may need to take some fluid from the swollen joint or the spine to check for clues to your condition.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/00

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